"Are you sure you're all right?" Rose eyed the Doctor with open concern.
He swept his soaked fringe back off his face and squeezed his suit jacket until icy water splashed all over the TARDIS floor, eliciting a few choice beeps from the annoyed console who didn't particularly like her circuits being doused with freezing water, thank you very much.
"Yep, right as … rain." Rose rolled her eyes as he appreciated his own pun.
She didn't think it was very funny. He said he'd only be gone a few minutes and that was several hours ago and she could still hear the major downpour that the Doctor had been caught in hammering against the TARDIS doors like thunder.
"Sounds more like a flood," Rose said as she reached over a plucked a droplet of frozen rain—hail—from his wet hair. "Should we start gathering two of every animal?"
He shrugged, which turned into a half shiver and Rose's face fell.
"Seriously, you're gonna catch cold or something, go and have a shower, yeah? A hot one and I'll make you tea. Okay?"
"I'm f-fine." His words were almost lost by the chattering of his teeth.
Rose put her hands on her hips and pointed to the door. "Go. Now."
The Doctor gave another shudder and pouted. "All right, but only because I'm cold."
He walked to the door and turned around quickly. "Can I have biscuits too?"
Rose smirked. "Sure."
"Shower!" Rose pointed again and he hurried off.
Rose carried the tray carefully to the Doctor's room and knocked lightly on the door, juggling the full tray so that she had one hand free.
"Doctor? Are you decent?"
There was no reply from within and so she called again.
"I'm coming in, okay?"
There was still no sound as she pushed open the door and edged into the room.
Rose had been in the Doctor's room plenty of times. He often called her in when she was passing to ask her opinion on something or just to chat. Rose had spent hours curled up on his bed just talking about everything and nothing.
But as soon as she saw the Doctor slumped on the bed, a damp towel around his waist she knew that there would be no leisurely chat this time. He sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands, slumped towards his knees.
Rose put the tray on the nearest flat surface and hurried over to him. "Doctor, what is it?"
He lifted his head as if it were the heaviest thing in the room and Rose gasped at the blue shimmering at the edges of his brown eyes. It was like a thin film of tears covering his eyes in a deep blue, crystalline and glittery. It was beautiful, but also very, very alien.
"R-Rose?" he said faintly and she stepped towards him nervously.
"Are you okay? Your eyes have gone all weird."
There was a strangled sound from his throat like weak laughter and his hands dropped from his head. "Weird?"
"Blue and shiny." She explained. "Are you all right?"
Rose frowned at his voice, it sounded kind of dopey and slow, almost as if he was finding it hard to form the words.
"Alien phys—physsi—fizzy-logy!" He blinked rapidly and swayed.
Rose stepped forward to steady him and gasped as her hand made contact with his skin. "You're burning up!"
Usually the Doctor's skin was several degrees cooler than humans, holding his hand was like touching a cool glass on a hot day and when she'd asked, he'd explained it as a by-product of a binary vascular system. Normally she liked it, liked how his hand felt in hers; but now it was uncomfortable to even touch his flesh, it felt scorching.
"Burning, on fire. Put me out, lotsa water, fizz. Fizz for fizz-ology." The Doctor muttered, sounding drunk.
Rose reached over and ran her fingertips over his forehead. Her frown deepening as he turned his face into her hand, seeking the coolness of her palm. "What's wrong with you?"
"Gallifreyan heat fever," he said, suddenly serious. "Burning infection, infestation and infatuation … infection—did I say that already?" He blinked up at her. "Rose?"
"Is it dangerous?"
"Very, very, very." He nodded gravely; staring at her shoulders and then broke out into a huge beaming grin. "Is what dangerous?"
"Heat fever," she reminded him.
"Ooh, who's got that then?" His eyes widened in interest.
Rose was starting to get a very bad feeling. "Doctor, you said you have Gallifreyan heat fever. Is it dangerous?"
"Oh that!" He waved a hand dismissively. "Pfff, nah. Nope. Nu huh. Negative, negetivamundo, nein, zip, zilch. Mostly harmless." He giggled the sound very odd in the still room.
"Ri-ight," Rose stared at him, not liking the way he wasn't able to focus on her. "So, what's it doing?"
"Burns infection," he said slowly, like he was lecturing a small child. "Gallifreyan heat fever coats the inner cells in a blue micro-active substance which cordons off any invasion of the bodies natural functions … vitals … fitals …" He shook his head. "Fights invasion of the body—germs!" He beamed as he reached the correct conclusion. "Fights germs!"
Rose nodded as she processed that and tried to make it simpler for herself. "So, the blue stuff on your eyes is like your body's natural defence against infection—like anti-bodies!"
"Exactly!" He poked at her randomly, hitting her stomach with one long finger. "Exactly. No. It's like anti-bodies. But it interferes with normal responses. I can't see and my worbs aren't coming out property. Words. Properly," he corrected himself with a sheepish grin.
Knowing that he wasn't in any danger made her relax and she smiled at the dorky look on his face. He was so cute when he was like this.
"I sort of figured that myself."
"There is a chance," he said seriously, "a very small chance that I could become a teensy, tiny bit less coherent than usual."
Rose bit back a laugh. "Right."
"But I'm sure I won't." He nodded in satisfaction. "I'm superior, me. Superior! Sup—ooh soup!"
Rose couldn't help but giggle at his erratic behaviour. "Is there anything else I should know about this heat fever?"
"I might get a bit hot. Nothing different from usual. He he. Foxy me! Isn't that right, Rose? Am I hot? You never did answer me, am I sexy, Rose? Do you think I'm sexy?" He asked curiously.
Rose shook her head in delight at this ridiculous side to him. "You're delirious, if that helps."
He looked up as if thinking about it. "Yep!"
"I think you should get into bed."
"Aren't I already?" He looked confused. "You should be in bed with heat fever. You can get very hot and disorientated. Sometimes you get sick and throw up and that's very unattractive."
Rose manoeuvred him until he was sitting against the headboard, propped up against his pillows. "Yes it is," she agreed.
"Do you know what's also unattractive?"
"A Slitheen!" He shuddered. "Very unattractive. Like Brussel sprouts—regurgitated Brussel sprouts with mould."
Rose winced. "Nice imagery there, Doctor."
Rose pulled the duvet up around him, tucking him in tightly. "Well, we'll get you all tucked in nice and warm, snug-like, yeah?"
"Snug as a bug in a rug." He grinned absurdly and then grabbed for her hand as she tried to move away. "Rose, I have to tell you something and it's very important."
"I think," he frowned, "I might be sick."
She stepped back quickly, pulling her hand from his grip.
"No, not sick sick, just sick." He rolled his eyes. "Gallifreyan heat fever lasts about seven hours while the body burns away the contagion. But the micro—micro—wave?"
"Micro-active substance?" Rose guessed.
"Yes!" He poked at her triumphantly. "The micro-active substance inhibits the infection but the infection inhibitor inhibits inhibitions."
Rose stared at him. "What?"
"Inhibitions!" He said in frustration. "Embarrassment, reticence, self-consciousness, reserve, shyness, hang-ups. Gets rid of them, gone, bye-bye, see you later, aurevoir, aufweidersehen, arrivederci."
"Right." Rose considered this carefully. "So, you'll be hot and sick, disorientated and dizzy, you'll make no sense whatsoever and probably come out with crap that you wouldn't usually say?"
"Sounds like fun." She took a deep breath. "So, what do I do?"
"Moan mostly," he said with a wrinkled nose. "Get in trouble and sometimes you save me, which is nice." The Doctor suddenly broke into a sunny smile. "I like it when you do that."
"I meant … hey!" Rose's jaw dropped in indignation. "I don't moan … do I?"
"Oh, only very occasionally." He waved her annoyance aside. "I like it, means you're here. I like it when you're here."
That was the sweetest thing he'd said to her in a long while.
"Yeah?" A grin started to make its way over Rose's face.
"You smell good too, like sunset and fresh rain and honey. I bet you taste nice." He sighed and sat back. "I'd like to taste you."
Okay, that was new. Rose had always wondered what this Doctor thought about her. The previous incarnation had been very obvious when he liked her and when he was jealous but this one played his cards very close to his chest.
Unless his inhibitions were inhibited, that was.
Rose bit her lip hard and tried to gather her thoughts. Okay, it wasn't right to try to find out what he felt about her when he was like this, it was wrong.
"Okay." Rose took a deep breath. "I meant, though, how do I make you feel better?"
"You hold my hand." His grin was goofy. "Always makes me feel better. And hot."
Rose blushed. Too much information. Way too much for her peace of mind and he was so going to regret saying that in the morning.
Could he regenerate from embarrassment? She'd find out tomorrow. But for now she had to do damage control.
"How can I make the heat fever go away faster?"
"Tea!" He exclaimed like it was obvious. "Tannin and all the good things in tea. And cake."
She frowned. "Cake?"
"Ooh, yes please."
Rose laughed and went over to fetch the tray she'd brought in with her. But as she picked it up and turned around she was shocked to see the Doctor climbing out of bed.
"Hey, hey, hey!" she yelled, slamming the tray down again. "What are you doing? Get back into bed!"
He pouted as he stood up, his naked chest still sprinkled with wet drops from the shower. "But I'm still wearing a towel; I can't sleep in a towel."
His hands went to his hips and started to pull on the knot that anchored the towel to his waist and kept his hidden bits hidden.
Rose flushed pink, her voice going shrill. "Doctor! I'm still in the room."
"I know!" He rolled his eyes like she was an idiot and he loosened the knot on his towel.
Rose spun around.
"You've seen it before," he said, somewhat put out.
"No, I really haven't!"
He sounded more confused now. "But you must have. That time in the shower—"
Rose's face was a picture as she turned back. "What time in the shower?"
He scratched the back of his head, the towel dipping dangerously low on his hips. "Huh. Did I imagine that?"
Rose couldn't stop the words as they tripped off her lips. "You've imagined me and you in the shower?"
"Oh yes." He nodded enthusiastically.
"Oh." Rose felt kind of light-headed.
"And on the floor," he continued, counting on his fingers, oblivious to her open mouth, "on the kitchen table, against the console, in the garden, against the wall, in the zero room, in front of the fireplace, in the library, in the bath, on the pool table. Huh, run out of fingers." He held up his hands. "Inconvenient."
Rose opened and closed her mouth, having no idea what to say to that somewhat astonishing revelation.
He tugged an ear. "Are you sure we didn't have sex in the shower?"
"I think I'd remember," she said faintly.
He sighed and sagged despondently. "Damn."
Her brain was blank. He'd actually thought—imagined—having sex with her in all of those places, and more, it seemed.
"M-maybe you should get back into bed? With the towel, okay?" She suggested slowly, stowing the information for future perusal. On the pool table? Did they even have a pool table?
"Okay." He was childishly cheerful as he turned and crawled back onto the bed, waving his bum in the air as he burrowed under the covers.
It was a very nice bum.
Rose held her breath and counted to ten.
He was sick. He was sick. He was sick. Therefore it wouldn't be right to jump him. Just yet, anyway.
She brought the tray over to where he lay and handed him his rapidly cooling tea. He took the mug with a grateful smile and licked the edge. His face fell.
"Doesn't taste like tea."
Rose bit her lip. "That's because that's the mug. The tea's inside."
He blinked at her twice. "Of course it is!" He sipped it and breathed heavily, sliding down against the pillow. "Marvellous."
Rose sat on the edge of the bed and stared at him as he drank the tea with every sign of enjoyment.
"Hmm," he moaned licking the ridge of the mug. "You make good tea, Rose Tyler. You get it from your mum. Jackie makes good tea." He frowned. "But tealeaves taste better. You can't fit a whole Jackie Tyler into a mug, unless you cut off her head, and milk doesn't go with the pink tracksuit. What was I saying?"
Rose shook her head in bemusement. "No idea."
He handed her the mug and stretched his arms above his head, yawning widely.
Rose watched as the muscles in his chest tightened and the skin glowed an odd blue in the light.
"You're blue," she said.
He touched his chest, rubbing the slight hairs there. "Anti-bodies, micro-active diodes just under the skin. Am I shiny?"
"Yeah, just a bit."
And he was; his body looked like he'd dipped it in a very pale blue glitter.
"I'm shiny. Shiny Doctor," he sang.
Rose put the tray on the floor and held up the plate. "Toast?"
"Oh yes, toast. Not as good as bananas but better than bananas on toast." He held his hands out for it and Rose placed the plate into his outstretched fingers, making sure he didn't drop it on the bedspread.
He bit down into the crunchy snack and butter smeared over his lips, crumbs dropping onto the plate. He licked at the melting butter and swallowed.
"I like toast," he murmured and bit into it again, devouring almost half with one huge mouthful. "I like toast."
He paused as the next slice hovered next to his lips. "Toast doesn't like me."
He dropped the plate and that was all the warning Rose had before she felt the Doctor start to retch.
She grabbed the waste paper bin next to the bed, half full of rumpled bit of paper and held it under his face as he half-rolled off the bed and heaved.
"Ew." She grimaced at the sound and smell of the Doctor being sick and forced herself to reach over and rub his back. "There, there."
"And here," he managed before retching again and again.
Rose held the bin until he finally stopped heaving and lay prone on the edge of the bed.
Her heart went out to him as he stared miserably at the floor.
She laid her head against his back, feeling his double heartbeats against her cheek.
"Oh, poor Doctor." She reached up and stroked her fingers through his damp hair. "Is it all gone?"
"No more toast," he mumbled and shuddered. "Don't like toast. No toast, no cats. No psycho grafts, no horses, no clocks and no wolves." He rolled onto his back and patted Rose's hair. "Which way am I facing?"
"Towards the ceiling," she said sympathetically. "Here get back into bed." She helped him under the sheets again and carried the full bucket into the bathroom, pouring the contents down the loo and trying not to gag.
She rushed back into the bedroom. "Yeah?"
"I don't feel so good," he moaned pathetically and she put the bin back and sat on the bed.
She leaned over and felt his head.
"Still really hot."
"I know." He giggled weakly. "Rose thinks I'm hot. We knew she used to, but still does. Rose thinks I'm hot."
He was. But he was also very ill and starting to have a conversation with thin air.
Rose looked around. "Who are you talking to?"
"You." He gave her an odd look and Rose decided to give up on trying to make sense of what he was saying.
She couldn't usually manage it, so how on Earth she thought she'd do it when he was ill was anybody's guess.
She smoothed his fringe down. "Maybe you should just sleep through this, yeah?"
"Time Lords," he said in his superior voice, "do not need to sleep like apes. Our phys—physsi—fizzy-ology is much more efficient."
"Uh huh." Rose poked her tongue out at him even though he couldn't see her. Even ill he was mocking humans.
He smirked. "I can hear your tongue, you know. I bet you're sticking your tongue out at me."
"I'm not." She blushed.
He shrugged. "I like it."
"Thanks," Rose hedged. "Uh, apart from, you know, being all sick and everything and never shutting up, yours is pretty nice too."
"But you won't kiss it." He pouted and crossed his arms like a child who'd been denied a treat.
"What?" Rose started to feel like a broken record—left in the twilight zone.
"Oh, you wanted to kiss me when I had big ears." He poked his own smaller lobes. "But small ears? No. It takes a mad piece of skin to get you to kiss me. You, Rose Tyler—" he poked towards her, missing her nose by a good few inches "—you don't want to kiss me."
Rose opened and shut her mouth again. "Do you want me to kiss you?"
"Duh!" He rolled his eyes. "It's the ears isn't it? You like big ears. Big ears mean big … headphones. Earplugs. Hats. Bigger hats!" He peered at her hard, or where he thought she was, eyes hovering around her chest area. "Would you kiss me if I had a big hat?"
Rose pressed her hand to her mouth, determined not to laugh at him. "Sure."
"I'll get a big hat," he said in satisfaction. "A really big one, with tassels and fruit on it. Bananas! And a scarf."
"On the hat?"
"No, don't be silly."
Right, because bananas on a hat were perfectly acceptable.
Rose shook her head. "I'm going to let you get some sleep."
Rose stood up to leave and carried the tray over to the dresser, turning to go. But a plaintive sound stopped her.
The Doctor was sitting up in bed, staring around with big doe eyes, sparkling with the blue liquid which looked like tears.
"What is it?"
"Where are you?"
"By the door."
"I was going to let you get some sleep, remember?"
"Well, I'm not sleeping without you!" he said crossly. "That's mean. I can't see and I'm sick and hot and you are making me sleep all alone! Your body is cooler than mine; I want your hands and your feet. Feet, freezing feet. Rose, come to bed?"
Rose leaned against the door and stared at the adorable picture of the half-naked, pouting Doctor.
Come to bed?
There was no way she could resist that. She couldn't even try.
"Oh, all right, shove over. I'll get in."
He clapped in glee and opened the covers for her to climb in, which she did after toeing her shoes off.
He rolled over and wrapped her in his arms, almost smothering her in the scent of hot male. She was tucked under his arm, enveloped in his body and she felt so very safe and comforted.
"See," he said softly, "knew we'd done this before. Look how we fit!"
Rose smiled. "Yeah, I guess we do. But, really, we haven't shared a bed before."
"But I remember we did. We were asleep and the baby woke us up."
Rose froze. "Baby?"
She rose up on one elbow and stared at him incredulously. "We had a baby?"
"We did?" The Doctor blinked in confusion. "Where did we put it? I'm always losing something." He moved. "Maybe I should go look for it."
Rose grabbed his arm and took a deep breath. "We don't have a baby."
"Huh, don't have to look for it then." He snuggled back down.
Rose wasn't letting him get away with that, however. She poked him. "Did you imagine we had a baby?"
"Okay." She settled back, relieved as well as oddly disappointed.
"We had three."
"What?!" She shot up again, staring down at her incoherent, slightly psychotic, blue Doctor.
"Two boys and a girl and a dog with no nose, but no cat." He yawned. "Street corner, taxi, 2 am and a picket fence and carpets."
He had actually fantasised that they had children? And a house and a life together?
Rose was blown away by the revelation and stared at him for several long seconds before he reached for her, pulling her back into his embrace.
She couldn't stop thinking about that. The Doctor had always been adamant that he didn't do any of that stuff, no normal life, no families, no carpets and windows and, no matter how much Rose wanted to keep him; she could never see the Doctor doing any of that.
"Bit domestic for you, isn't it?" she said somewhat sadly.
"Yeah, but domestic with you," he said tiredly, "s'not so bad."
Rose couldn't help the smile that slipped over her lips at that but it quickly faded as she imaged it herself.
A normal life. It just didn't feel right without a big blue box in the back garden, stars and adventures and running for their life.
"How would you save the world if you were stuck in a house?" Rose shook her head and slid up against him, allowing herself to relax. "You'd be bored within a week."
"You don't know everything about me, Rose Tyler. I once lived in one place for over a year. Had a car and curtains and everything."
"Bessie." He yawned again.
"Yellow car, like a yellow submarine but didn't go underwater, had to go there to save the world from green sea-monsters. Bessie couldn't go underwater and Jo didn't want to but I still saved the world. I'm a genius. I can reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and everything. Genius."
Rose hadn't a clue what he'd just said, but that seemed kind of par for the course. "Yeah, dead clever."
"You can't even make proper toast."
He swallowed. "Don't mention toast."
Rose grinned up at the half-closed eyes, knowing they couldn't see her. "Does your stomach still ache?"
Rose put her hand on his taut skin and rubbed in little circles until he practically purred.
"Rose." He sighed happily. "Warm Rose. Cool Rose. My Rose. All mine."
"Yours?" Her fingers tilled until he prodded them.
"Me, I'm boss of the universe, didn't you know?"
She giggled. "Sure you are."
"I am. I can do anything." He arched like a cat and then gave a tired, smug grin. "Rose said so."
"Yep," he popped his 'p' and nodded. "Rose said 'Don't give up, Doctor, you'll think of something. You can do anything.'"
Rose blinked. "When did I say that?"
He shrugged. "Always, in my head. When I think, I can't do it, Rose says I can."
She was almost flattered by that. "So, I'm like your confidence? I say you can do it so you do?"
"Umm hmm," he hummed sleepily. "I save planets, I save the universe. I save Rose."
"Yeah, you do."
"I saved my own life with eight words, you know."
"Oh yeah?" Rose said as she snuggled against him, almost asleep. "What were they?"
He snuffled his nose into her hair and inhaled deeply. "What was what?"
Rose grinned, her eyes closed and sliding into slumber. "The eight words that saved your life?"
He kissed the top of her head and closed his own eyes. "'Did I mention it also travels in time?'"
Rose stilled even as she heard the deep, heavy breathing that signalled the Doctor's slide into sleep.
Although Rose had felt that she couldn't sleep after that particular bombshell, she very quickly followed the feverish Doctor into sleep, only awaking a few times to the Doctor's muttered tirades about fish and some annoyance that Leonardo was using the entirely wrong shade of green.
What eventually disturbed her sleep wasn't the TARDIS's usual morning wake-up call of Tibetan chanting or the lights coming on, but something poking insistently into her hip. She brushed at it in irritation and heard a sharp gasp of air from somewhere around her ear and her eyes popped open, looking straight up into the horrified eyes of the Doctor.
"Rose!?" he yelped. "What are you doing here? In here, in bed, with me?" He pulled back, looking confused. "Did something happen? What did we do?"
"Nothing!" Rose held up her hands and backed away. "Fully dressed, see?"
He calmed down slightly and there was a faint look of disappointment in his expression. "Right, of course we didn't. I would have … So why—?"
"Am I in bed with you?" she completed, raking what had to be the worst case of bed head in history. "You got Gallifreyan heat fever and you asked me to stay for the company."
His eyes got wide. "I did?"
Rose frowned at him and reached for his head. His temperature was back to normal. Well, normal for him anyway.
He pulled back from her touch and hastily rearranged the bed sheets.
"You don't remember?"
"No." He scratched the back of his head shyly. "Uh, heat fever usually wipes all memories of infection out too, don't remember a thing."
So he wouldn't remember telling her about his fantasies or throwing up or the adorable little rambles?
The blackmail potential was going to be fantastic.
"Did I say anything … embarrassing?"
Rose bit down on her lip, a smirk edging around her mouth as she thought about the night's revelations. "Oh, you know nothing really."
"Right." He sagged in relief and Rose rubbed her hands together.
"I'll go and make some tea."
"Tea. Yes. Tea."
She clambered out of bed and headed to the door, half-turning as the reached the handle.
"By the way Doctor?"
"Yes?" He said nervously.
"Do we even have a pool table?"